Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not much to say today.............

Another rainy day.......

Seriously, as if we need some more rain. Sunshine would be nice.

Well, I woke up at 4:30 this morning and got some nonfiction writing done. I would so much rather be writing fiction, but right now it's what I have to do.

We went to Storyland last Friday. It was a fun day with lots of fun things to write about. I'll try and write about it in the next few days, but this morning I'm going with April to do a cleaning job. Fun, fun, fun.

We are going camping on Wednesday..... so hopefully it won't rain too much. Notice how I say too much. It seems inevitable that it will rain at least once.

Those are the Thoughts of a George for today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just Another Camper Adventure!

So I went to pick up the camper yesterday!

I wish I could tell you that it's a beautiful camper, maybe an old Airstream, Avion or something old style camper with charm, but I can't....nope... sorry.

We drove an hour and a half, up to Tuftenborough NH, and managed to pull into their driveway at about 11:30am.

As soon as I pulled into the driveway, my stomach sank. It was overgrown, unmaintained and the strategically placed junk was kind of a tell tale sign. But I remained hopeful and drove forward.

I left the kids in the truck and knocked on the door. The booming sound of dogs barking filled the air.

I waited, then a lady answered the door with a twelve month old on her hip. "I'm here to pick up the camper." I said

She looked genuinely surprised, and that was my other tell tale sign. "Well....." she said putting her shoes on. "I'll have to walk you out there." So she opened the gate and two large dogs tackled me. They were very nice dogs, just excited to see people I guess. So I grabbed the kids and held Marcus, knowing they would swarm all over him. They tackled Jorgie with kisses, but she managed to stay standing.

So we walked back up the driveway and down a very overgrown road. The road was strew with old limbs about the size of my arm, sink holes, and old farm equipment pushed to the side. But despite all that, I still tried to remain hopeful. So we walked out into the field and there it was. It had been there so long, small pine tree saplings had grown around it.

I looked at the tires, and they were very low. I shrugged my shoulders and said...... "I'll see what I can do." In George translation, it means I'll get this son of a bitch out of here.

So we walked back to the truck and loaded the kids in. We drove out there, I backed the truck up and unloaded my tools. The first thing was the tires. I unloaded my generator, my compressor, and tire iron. I started the generator, plugged the compressor in and started filling the tires with air. The first two were fine, they held air. I went to the other side..... and that was when I found that one of the tires was totally off the rim. I took a deep breath.....and then another deep breath..... and went back to the truck.

By now the kids had retreated back to the safety of the truck. I asked them why? ..... that was when Jorgie said she found a tick on her. I said "Oh......" and wondered if there were any on me. Oh well! I thought.

Went back to the camper and decided to look inside it. Yeah.... that's right, I hadn't looked in it yet. I saw the lady look in it when she was out there, but she had shut the door quickly.

So I opened up the door and quickly realized why she had shut the door. There was a bat flying around inside... Yes a bat. So I shut the door quickly too.

I did manage to get a quick look at the inside. And guess what, despite the fact that the lady had said in the email that the camper was dry inside........ NO IT WASN'T:
Here is a copy of the email she had sent me........

No, we haven't gotten ride of it yet. I will send details later today - it doesn't leak, it needs some TLC - but was lived in while our house was built (in 1999). It's biggest problem is that it has been sitting unoccupied but really it's in good shape for a freebie. If you want to come get it - please do - you can give my husband a call today at 569-6016. His name is Nelson.

Maybe..... just maybe they shouldn't have said any of that. They should really have said that it was a piece of junk and should be used for scrap.

I know... I know... it's free right.

So anyway about the tire. Despite three tires holding air, I still had one tire that was flatter than a root beer soda shaken not stirred. I walked around the back of the camper, took another deep breath and then there it was, right there fastened to the back bumper. It was a spare. A very attractive round looking piece of rubber. I never thought a tire could look so sexy. Trust me, you don't see too many spare tires on campers much.

I swapped the tire, threw the old one in the camper, and quickly shut the door. I don't know what I was thinking, I should have left it open so the bat could get out.

I hooked the camper up and managed to slowly tow it out of the field. I got on the driveway, and checked the lights. Only one of the tail lights worked, but that was sufficient enough for me.

I got in the truck and then found a tick on my neck that hadn't started snacking on me yet. I squished him and then started on our way. Me. the kids, and a large hunk of junk on wheels, and a lonely old bat.

We made it home in one piece, no flats, no things falling of the camper and we all survived.

I've had that happen...... once I hit a large bump and off went a back storage door. Luckily it slid off and didn't hit any cars.

So now it sits in the driveway waiting for me. The ceiling is falling in from leaks, the floor is soft from leaks and it is infested with hornets. Awesome!

Oh, last night when I was doing dishes I found a second tick on me and yes, he was happily having me for dinner. At least until I plucked him out and squished him. Oh, and you know what kind of camper it is. It's a Twilight camper. Jorgie pointed that out and said that was why there was a bat in it, you know like the Vampire movie... Twilight.

Funny isn't it.

Well, there it sits in the driveway. Ill be able to salvage some stuff from it, like the old propane fridge and the furnace. Besides that, I have no idea what I am doing with it. Maybe I can use it as a planter.... oh wait no we aren't in Maine.... That's right. Sorry I couldn't help myself.

We shall see. Well that's it for today. Those are the Thoughts of a George,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Camper Run! Camper Fun?

I got up at 5:05 this morning.

Got some good time working on my nonfiction project. Gained some ground which is always good.

So today I'm off to pick up a camper. Yeah...... another camper. It's up in the Alton area, so it is a bit of a drive. I'm going up there not knowing what this camper looks like, which could turn out to be a major mistake, but we shall see. I talked to the guy that has it, and he told me it has been sitting in the field for ten years.

Oh..... Boy. How do I get myself into these situations.

Oh yeah, he said that I would need a 4x4 to get it out of the field. I hope my driving skills are up to par. This just make for good reading.... let's hope not. Hopefully I come back without a word to say about it.

So we'll see. Hopefully the tires have air, or at least hold air.

So this is a quick entry as I am off top load up the truck. Oh yeah.... the kids are coming too. That will make for a fun challenge....... Man I love challenges.

Last night I told Jorgie that we were going on a camper run..... "Oh, boy." She said quite unenthusiastically.....

We will see what happens.

Well those are The Thoughts of a George,
Until tomorrow

Friday, June 19, 2009

Profit Margins on Junk

I woke up at about 4:30 this morning.

That was good, and it helped that I went to bed early last night. Worked on my nonfiction this morning and made some progress with that, so that makes me happy.

Got a lead on another free camper. I'm going to call the guy today, so hopefully I can get another hunk of aluminum to decorate our driveway. That will make everyone happy! Plus it will add another project to my to do list. Just what I needed!

I have the other camper out for sale now...... finally....but no bites yet. It's been out there since last Friday, so maybe in another week I'll do a price markdown. This is the kids tree house money, so I can't go too low. After all, I did purchase this one so I have to pay attention to my profit margin. Listen to me! I'm talking profit margins on junk campers, oh boy.... what has my world come to.

I did have a guy come to the door and offer to tar a portion of my driveway for the camper. He was young, thin built, wearing a orange safety vest and a large salesman's smile. His disheveled hair was pushed up one side as if he had just woke up and threw some clothes on.

"We're gonna have extra tar after our job down the street today. I can tar your drive way, REALLY cheap."

"I would love to, but I don't have the money."

Again he repeated that he could tar my driveway real.... cheap....... "Sorry, I just don't have the money."

"How about for the camper? I can do the edge of your driveway for the camper?"

"No, I really need the money." I said. (tree house money... can't build a tree house out of tar!)

"Oh, okay." He turned and was walking away, then stopped..... "I'll stop back later. I really want to buy the camper."

I nodded and replied. "Okay." I didn't hold my breathe though....... good thing, he never came back.

Well, those are the Thoughts of a George

Until Tuesday......... Yuck work!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My office and a Floating mind

I woke up around 5:15 this morning.

Not a bad writing morning. I did manage to get some nonfiction work done, which is pretty good especially after my relapse yesterday.

I'm sitting here staring at the monitor, with no ideas. My mind seems to be just floating around, mostly trying to latch onto the things I have to to today. Looking out the window to my right, I see that it's cloudy and gloomy again and I wish it wasn't. From the window I see the large oak tree that sprawls its limbs out over the side yard and reaches to the sky.

Back inside again, my desk sits flush against the wall, flat on top and cluttered. (according to my terms of clutter anyway) The space is occupied by my flat screen monitor, two speakers, two cd's in reference to my nonfiction project, two character profiles for Vines of Wisteria, an empty glass of water and coffee cup. Next to my monitor my satchel of thinking rocks lay and a photo holder that holds a vocabulary card sits on the other side. Sophisticated is the word of the day. I try and put a new word on it every day. That doesn't always happen

Around my office I have piles of projects,(most of them sitting on my drawing desk) made up of books, papers, drawings, notes, etc..... Each pile sits patiently, waiting for my attention. My nonfiction project in one, drawings in another, garden book that needs to be read, children's notebook for my children's book ideas, and a movie waiting to be copied.

The movie sits on my electronics shelf, occupied by my laser printer, bubble jet printer,(which is currently out of ink), DVD player which runs into my computer, DVD recorder which doesn't work since my Vista installation.

Oh........the magical sound of sibling rivalry... That's always fun to hear this early in the morning. According to Jorgie, Marcus didn't wash his hands after going pee.

Okay where was I. Oh ..... behind my left shoulder sits a four foot tall file cabinet. Full of stuff of course, waiting for my attention. I have four book shelves, all full of nonfiction books and fiction books. I try not to look at them, because when I do, I am reminded of all the things I want to do, projects I find interesting, and ideas that are sitting idle.

I'm cursed though........ there are so many cool things to do in this world and so little time. Most of the things I find intriguing are tied to the arts in some way. Even when I was a kid, I was always attracted to art in some way.

I remember in high school I made this figure from forming tin foil around my face and arms, then I taped it to the wall to look like it was coming through it. It was pretty cool, although very primitive.

Okay, now I hear April reprimanding the kids. That's a fun sound too. I can only blast Joshua Bell, and try to ignore it for so long.

Well, those are the Thoughts of a George for today.

Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Insatiable Addictions, Potty Talk and Charity?


I couldn't hold out any longer. I had to do it!

But it was only just a little, and besides it didn't hurt anybody. I mean seriously.......

I had to fill the void, satisfy the addiction, loose the shakes.

I was starting to feel the withdrawal symptoms. The edginess, irritability, and that insatiable craving.

It was only just a little...... a few words....maybe two paragraphs. It won't happen again.

Okay, maybe it will. Let's call it my fiction addiction.

It felt SO good! Yeah it was only a few paragraphs, but........ it was good to go there. I traveled to Wisteria, a magical world created for Angelina and Connor. Two young characters struggling against amazing odds to save Angelina's world, and not fall in love.......

Your probably rolling your eyes by now. Probably saying...."OK, George....... I think you're exaggerating."

Only a little on the shakes part, but I was getting irritable and edgy. I really can't explain why. Even if I knew for a fact that I would never get published.........Which I will darn it!

Okay........ where was I. Oh yeah, even if I knew I would never get published, I would still have to write.

And no, I'm not crazy!

Okay, now that's out of the way I can talk potty talk.....

No not the trashy kind, although according to April I am quite good at.

I fixed my parents toilet yesterday, see and you thought I was going to talk trashy.

So I have been dreading it all week, worried that my Dad would be difficult. He can be sometimes, but yesterday went pretty well.

I had to cut one of the bolts off the toilet base to remove it, but it came off easier than I thought. I pulled it out, put the wax ring on the new toilet, and bam! It was done. Not really that quickly, but it went smooth.

I only had to purchase a new shut off vale and sweat it on the pipes. No I didn't talk dirty to the pipe to make it sweat either. Sweating a pipe is when you heat it up and solder the pipe onto the copper piping.
Okay, I heard you yawning.... Sorry.

Anyway it felt good helping them out, especially since my dad's in the wheel chair.

Well, I have to run Jorgie to school.

Those are the thoughts of a George,
Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Girl Scouts, Cake, and Tao Te Ching

I got up at a decent time this morning, about 4:55am. Not too bad.

I managed to squeeze in a decent amount of work on some nonfiction. Not a bad morning, but also not an overly productive morning either. Most of the time was spent reacquainting myself with the project.

I wanted to write in my blog on Friday, but one thing led to another and I didn't get around to it. It was mostly due to making a cake for Jorgies Girl Scouts. I wanted to get the cake done early so I could get some things done around the house. The cake came out pretty good, and everyone liked it. That's always a good thing. I can't imagine making a cake and someone not liking it.

Here's a picture of the cake:

I've been reading a good eye opener book. I just started reading it and it makes you think differently about life.

The book is: Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life By: Dr. Wayne Dyer

I have always been a fan of Dr. Dyer and he has been a great source of positive thinking and motivation for me. For his new book, Dr. Dyer took a year to read and research the famous Tao Te Ching, a famous 3000 year old book of wisdom. He takes each verse and translates it into how we can apply these teaching to our own lives.

This book is very peaceful, contemplative and even though I am only on the 7th verse, would recommend this book. This book isn't for everyone, and I think you have to be in a certain place in your life to accept some of the things the Tao Te Ching suggests, but that goes for a lot of things.

That goes for eating a candy bar for that matter.

Well, the kids are flocking in the office so my thoughts are a little bedazzled. Those aer the Thoughts Of A George for today,

Until tomorrow,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Watching Movies and $50 Million Dollars a month

I woke up late this morning. We stayed up late last night night watching a movie, so no writing time this morning. Well, besides my blog.

It's so tough when you have kids sometimes. By the time you get them to bed and finally sit down to take a deep breathe......... it's 9:30pm!

Yeah let's watch a two hour movie!

But we did. We have had it from Netflix for over a week, maybe even two. We used to hurry up and watch it to send it back, but now we've become those people that Netflix actually makes money off of. You know, the kind that keeps it for weeks at a time.

You know what amazes me. I bet when Reed Hastings thought up of Netflix, almost everyone told him that it would NEVER work. If you think about it, I bet I could come up with tons of reasons why it wouldn't work. Tons of reasons why he should have gotten discouraged and given up.

But he didn't. He didn't give up. What if he had. What if he threw up his hands in the air and said.......... "Yeah you guys are right. It's a stupid idea. The people probably won't send the movies back, they will get broken in the mail.....blah...blah..blah!"

Did you know that since the economy has tanked, Netflix has prospered. Yeah seriously. What if the idea was squashed. What if Mr. Reed Hastings convinced himself it would never work. According to a CBS article in 2006, Netflix was raking in $50 million a month in subscription fees.

Let me say that again. $50 million a month!

So if any of you have a dream, stick to it. Whether it is writing, opening a business, or just an invention idea, don't let the critics discourage you. Or even worse, don't discourage yourself. That is the ultimate crime, sabotage.

Stay positive, stay focused and KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

Okay, well Those are the Thought of a George,

Until tomorrow

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big Blue Whale and Our Trip to School

Despite getting up late this morning, I managed to get some writing done. That's always good, but still not enough. But I can accept that........

I have no other choice.

I brought Jorgie to school this morning..........with a whale. Yeah, really a whale!

Okay let me back it up a few weeks.

Three weeks ago Jorgie said she was doing a book report, after much deliberation she finally chose a book on whales and dolphins. Those are hard decisions for an eight year old girl. Actually she'll be nine next month, as I am sure she would dutifully point out.

So anyway, she said to me. "That would be cool if I could make a model of a whale."

That little infamous light bulb went on above my head. Sometimes that little light bulb gets me in trouble. So I told her that I have an idea.

Ideas get me in trouble too.

So I told her that we can make a whale out of paper mache. I told her that I remember we did a project with paper mache in school and we used chicken wire and then paper mache on the outside.

So it was off to the store. We got a roll of chicken wire and then we were ready. Jorgie had a lot of questions about how it would look. She worries sometimes.

So we made a large chicken wire frame of a whale, and a dolphin, and Jorgie made one of a manatee.

We cut newspaper up into long strips, mixed 3 1/2 cups of flour with 5 cups of water, stirred and stirred and finally got down to the business of getting really messy.

Messy is an understatement. It drips everywhere, and the kitchen floor was a skating rink of flour and water. Not to mention what we looked like.

Oh as an added note, the whale was about as tall as me, and pretty hard to handle. Not that I'm hard to handle..... well, don't ask April. She might say I am... a little....maybe.

So when we got the top of the whale done, I confidently lifted it up to see if I we could get the bottom done before letting it dry.

BIG MISTAKE! I lifted the whale up by it's tail and the whole top layer of paper mache slid off and splattered onto the floor.

That's when the storm of curses hit. After a few deep breaths........ a few many deep breaths, we started again.

After finishing, we let it dry a few days, then we tackled the task again. Jorgie was very patient with me.... Thanks Jorgie. This time I put plastic down. A little better, still messy though. We got the second layer on and it was finally taking shape.

We let it dry again, then I hung it out in the other room. I put the last layer on while Jorgie was in school, because we were running out of time. The project was already late.

We painted it outside with spray paint, and it actually came out pretty good. It's very large, and Jorgie kept saying. "Maybe we should carry it in a bag."

"Sorry sweetie, it won't fit."

So we went to school. Me carrying a six foot blue whale with a three foot tail under my arm, Jorgie carrying a two foot dolphin.

We walked into class! "Wow..... what's that!"

All attention went from whatever the teacher was talking about to the big fat blue whale under my arm. I bet she loved that. Sorry Mrs. Powers.

So anyway that's the story of the Big Blue Whale, and Those are the Thoughts of a George.

Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Missiles, Death and Happiness........

I was able to get a good solid forty-five minutes of writing done this morning. Actually it was more like planning time than writing time, but it was productive and that's good.

I like productive days.

If I don't plan before I set about writing something, I flounder along and my writing suffers. I also get discouraged easier. It's like taking a trip to California without a map.

All I do is head west........right? I guess that could work, but there would be quite a few detours on the way.

Right now I feel that there is much to do and so little time. I have so many things I want to work on, but so few hours in the day.

Then again I also want to enjoy life, because you know what, we are very lucky to be alive. We only get ninety or so years if we're lucky. Why do we blow it on foolish stuff sometimes. Ninety years isn't really that long when you think about it.........and I think about it.

What amazes me, is that I have already been here for thirty six years and it has gone by so fast. My daughter is going to be nine years old and my son will be four ......... and my god I only blinked for a moment.

Recently I have been trying to concentrate on things that make me happy. I have been trying to enjoy the little things. I have been trying to get less irritated at those pesky little things that I shouldn't get irritated over.

Little things like the clothes dryer not working......... okay that isn't a little thing, but my point is, my life could end tomorrow.

Please don't runaway scared. I'm not trying to be depressing. Life as we know it can change in an instant. With tensions getting worse with North Korea, what if we went to war. What if they did launch nuclear missiles?

Would the dryer not working be so important anymore.

I try to ask myself those question. What would I say in my last few moments before I was to leave this earth. Okay, that was the nice way to put it. What would I say before I died.......

Would I say, "Boy I really wish I made enough money to get a new car." or "Man I should have gone for supervisor at work."

Hell No! I would I say....... "I wish I spent more time with the kids. I wish I told everyone I loved them. I wish I spent more time on things that really mattered to me. Writing, drawing, family. "

But that's the hard part. Trying to filter out the things that matter the most instead of the things that don't. Sometimes I think that we as a society base our priorities on external, rather than internal importance.

We care about what everyone else thinks of us and tend to ignore what is really important...... What we think of ourselves.

I'm just as guilty as everyone else, but I am working on it and that makes me happy!

What is one thing you might say just before you die.

I know it's very scary going there, but do it for just a moment. Not for me, for yourself.

"I really wish I....................."

Now take a few minutes today and do it. I'm going to. After I write this, I'm going out to hug, kiss and tell everyone I love them.

Those are The Deep Thoughts of a George,

Until tomorrow

Friday, June 5, 2009

My mind, Mini Ecosystems, and Writing

Worked on my nonfiction piece today.

I miss writing fiction. It's so much more imaginative and less constricting when you can disappear into your own vision. A world created through imagination and not bound by rules of reality.
But writing is writing, and that's what matters. I believe in what I'm writing, which does help.

It's hard due to the fact that I have so many ideas that echo around in my otherwise empty head, but not enough time to get them down on paper. (the electronic kind anyway).

From children's stories to stories of love, they all fight for precious page time. In a way it's similar to how nature handles these situations. Natural selection one might call it. It comes down to survival of the fittest, like a real live mini ecosystem in my head. The strongest or most fruitful wins. If any of them are wounded or crippled, they may just perish.

I think the toughest part of writing is managing the time. Between chores, family responsibilities, work, useless searches on Google, Craigslist, more useless searches on Google, fixing campers, on and on and on........ writing time is sometimes tough to squeeze in.

But I can do it because I know that's one of the things that separates the real writers, from the dreamers.

Dedication to the art.

Well taht's it........ it's back to real work tomorrow. The kind where you punch in and out with an electronic time card. Those are the Thoughts of a George for today.

Until Tuesday.........

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Green Thumbs, Arch Rivals, and Free lunch

The snooze button is an arch rival of mine!

I kept pressing that damn button this morning and ended up getting up late. Late for me anyway. It was 5:30 by the time I rolled out of bed and stumbled down stairs. My cat actually came up to get me out of bed.

I thought that was funny.

Since I got up late I didn't get to work on my nonfiction much this morning. Wrote a few ideas down, but that was all. I think I'll try to work on it during the day, but the problem with that is I get so distracted with all the other things i have to do. There are so many.

And even though my plate is full, I manage to pile more and more on!

I tilled a small portion of our backyard for a garden on Tuesday. We just have to fertilize it and plant some plants in it. Oh, and fence it in. I'm afraid if we don't we'll get some furry creatures looking for a free lunch.

Everyone one loves a free lunch.

I hope it does well. I guess we will see how green our thumbs are.

I have to finish the camper too. It's almost done, just have to do a couple more things to it and then put it out for sale.

Oh yeah. I have to start the kids tree house too.

And to think that I feel that I can fit some writing in today. Oh boy, I'm in a fantasy world.

Well, those are the Thoughts Of A George for today.
Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lunch with Three Writers Digest Editors in New York (part 2 of 2)

Okay.......Where was I? Oh yeah we were walking into the lunch room.

Michelle and I probably looked like a couple of starving nomads in search of sustenance....okay it wasn't that bad. But we still couldn't find any open seats.

I turned to a man who looked in charge, and asked where we should sit.....

To our relief, he directed us to a table occupied only by one person. We strolled up, introduced ourselves and sat down.

The lunch consisted of three generous plates of turkey sandwiches, a heaping basket of fruit, another basket of assorted chips, soda's and even a plate of cookies.

It only took a few moments for me to fill my plate, and then a few moments more to be GLADLY EATING.

The three of us chatted while we ate, exchanging what our stories were about, (he had written a thriller) then after a few minutes, we were joined by another writer. Our fourth guest was a smaller man with glasses, untidy hair, and rather cynical smile. We exchanged writing preferences, and he stated he wrote educational poetry.

Really? What's educational poetry again?

I was about to ask him, when four others joined the table. They weren't introduced, but I noticed one of them looked very familiar. Then the little guy with glasses asked a question to the lady sitting next to me. Alice.... he had addressed her by name. By the dialogue between the two, I could tell they didn't know each other. He had asked something about Twitter and Facebook, and was an obvious ploy just to talk to her. She politely answered and the conversation was over.

She made a comment about the sandwiches, something about them being turkey I think. I had said something about the fact that I was starving and it was perfect.

Then out of nowhere from my right, a banquet worker handed Alice a specially made sandwich. That was when I realized I was probably sitting next to someone with a little stature.

Then I realized she had made the comment about the turkey, due to the fact that she was.........a vegetarian, I think. I found that out after watching her dissect her grilled eggplant sandwich on the plate next to me. Yeah that was instead of listening to the lunch speaker.

I did listen to the speaker, but Sarah Nelson took a cynical and slightly depressing angle on the book publishing industry. Not a very motivational speech to say the least, but probably partly due to the fact that she had been laid off from Publishers Weekly a few months prior.

Switching of from watching Alice dissect her sandwich, to spying at the name tag affixed to her lapel, I managed to find out her name was Alice Pope. It sounded familiar, but couldn't place it yet. (Sorry Alice) So I kept glancing over, all the while hoping she wouldn't catch me looking and think I was looking down her shirt........

I managed to read the word editor on her name tag, but that was all. I thought that was cool, George the writer sitting next to an editor, a real live editor! I'm proud of myself for not asking for an autograph and then shouting out to the room......I'm never washing this hand.....ever!

Yeah I know, writers are a strange breed.

She left the table, so I had resort to listening to the speech again.

Later I was informed that she was an editor at Writers Digest. Wow, even cooler. The whole time she was next to me I thought about trying to strike up a conversation, but decided against it. I figured she would rather dissect her sandwich in peace. Besides, I didn't want to sound like the little guy in glasses with the silly question about Twitter.

Come to find out, after looking at the conference pictures online, we were all in the company of two other writers digest editors as well. Zac Petit, and Melissa Hill.


Now I can say that I had lunch with three editors from writers digest....... It's too bad I couldn't manage to mumble anything intelligent to any of them.

So after the depressing speech, a text to April (my wife), and a cookie, they gave away door prizes. The editors had left the table already so it was just Michelle, myself and the two other writers. They read off names for each prize, and each time someone won it just happened to be a woman. I didn't even notice or even care until the little guy in glasses kept making a comments about how come no guys were winning anything.

I wanted to say... are you serious......... your poetry must be really fun to read.

The last prize was for three people to win a years subscription to Writers Digest magazine. I was shocked when my name was drawn. I smiled as I walked up to get the card.

So after lunch was over, we went to the last breakout session. This one was was informative for me because it was with Anthony Flacco and his agent Sharlene Martin. They didn't turn it into a book pitch but more of just general information about publishing nonfiction. They opened it up to questions, which was really nice.

When the breakout session ended, it was almost time.

The moment was almost upon us all. A writers moment of truth. Three minutes to pitch our books to prospective agents. We all had to exit the rooms, regroup and stand in line. Some lines were longer than others, but the line I chose was long. The room had four agents I wanted to see. Of course Donald Maass was in that room, and of course a lot of people wanted to pitch to him.

Big time agent! He wasn't on my list.

My first pitch went to Michael Larsen.

I sat down, introduced myself and he said :

"Tell me what it's about."
"Don't you want me to read my pitch?" I asked him.
"No." He said. "Just tell me about it."

So I told him the title and explained what I wanted to do with it. He was interested, and then he asked if it was written yet.

I said no. I explained that I thought it was better if a nonfiction book was proposed first. He told me that in my case with the book I'm writing, it would be better written first. He gave me some great ideas and advice, and besides slurping (very loudly) the bottom of his iced latte from Starbucks while explaining my story, he seemed to be a very genuine, approachable guy. He would be someone I would like to represent my work. (when it's done)

Next I pitched Stacia Decker:

She looked different than in the pictures I found on line of her, and as I approached her saw that she sported a close trimmed hair cut that looked very professional and attractive. (sorry that shouldn't have slipped in here)

As I sat down, I introduced myself and she asked me to explain my story. I asked if she wanted me to read my pitch and she said .......no, just tell me about it. So I did. She made good eye contact, and listened to what my story was about. She asked me a few general questions and seemed genuinely interested. She told me to query her at the agency. That made me happy. She did have the same advice as Michael Larsen did, about it being a finished work. So I will wait to query until it is finished.

Next was to Michael Bourret:

I didn't wait in line too long, and was chatting with someone else the whole time. When it was my time to go up, I sat down and introduced myself. Michael seemed to be having a hard time concentrating on me. His eyes kept shifting to what was going on around the room. It wasn't until I made him laugh did I hold his attention for a few seconds. Even then, he still seemed somewhere else. He told me to query him because some of my ideas made him laugh, but I don't think I would query him. Nothing against him, I just didn't get a good feeling.

Next was Meg Leder, a penguin publishing editor:

Again, I didn't wait too long in line and was chatting with someone so it went quick. I introduced myself again, and explained my story. Now Meg held the best eye contact out of all the people I talked to. She really did a phenomenal job at making me feel listened to. She also had great advice, and said it should be completed first and would be wise to get some publishing credits for my work. She spoke with sincerity, and said it would be best to get an agent first.

It was nice to see these people as real live people.

By then, I had some great advice and was ready to get going on my project. I met up with Michelle and told her how it went. She was happy to tell me she had some requests for her manuscript, which is awesome.

We were done for the day and ready to go.

We did our three minute walk back to the car. I wanted to go out and walk the city, but I knew I had to start home so not to get back to New Hampshire too late.

We drove back to Michelle's, ordered pizza, and had a few slices before the trip home. She made me a cup of some strong coffee and I was off to New Hampshire by 6:30pm.

I called April as soon as I was on the highway, and we chatted for a while as I drove up highway 87. I have an earpiece, I can't stand holding the phone that long.

Anyway, as I was talking away to her, I saw the exit I was supposed to take pass me by.

With a few curses......okay, okay, a lot of curses, I complained about the signage or rather lack of it. It was the same spot I missed coming down. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the driver, or the fact the driver was talking on the phone. NO WAY!

So April got off the phone to finish cleaning up dinner and I got off the phone to finish cursing. I glanced at the map and saw I could take a different route So I said what the heck, why not.

I set my MP3 player to play Mat Kearney and drove, drove ...........and drove. I didn't get tired till about 9:30pm . It was foggy out as I was going through the mountains in Vermont. That made it for a long drive, a curvy foggy road. Oh boy!

I nursed the rest of my cold coffee in the cup and blasted the radio.

After propping my eyelids open with a bunch of candy, I finally stumbled through my front door at about 11:30pm and was very happy to be home.

I want to do it again. It was fun, exhilarating and helped me feel like a real writer.

Now I just have to get published.

Those are the Thoughts of a George,
Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My New York Trip and Prison (part 1 of 2)

So I went to New York last week.

Yeah that's right, the Big Apple. Well, here's the play by play on how it went down.

I left my driveway Tuesday afternoon at about 1:30pm, right on time, which is a surprise for me because I had spent all morning running a little behind.

Between last minute changes on my book pitch, printing out the agent profiles, and making sure I had a second pair of underwear in my duffel bag, it was a frantic morning.

With my tires rolling over the open road and a gargantuan ice coffee by my side, it felt good to be on my way to the city that never sleeps. Actually on a side note, I was really heading for New Jersey, but my sister technically lives ten minutes from New York.

It took me a total of about six uneventful hours. I set my MP3 player to play Mat Kearney's new album, (City of Black And White) and just drove and drove and..............drove.

I kept switching off from listening to the album, to practicing my pitch for a little while, and then back to the album again. I had no idea that I wouldn't get past the first two lines of my pitch.

It was all highway driving and nothing really happened. I missed one exit, cursed four or five times, turned around, and was back on track in about ten minutes later.

I do remember passing a town called Beacon NY. Rolling hills, green grass and miles and miles of barbed wire. Yeah, that's right, barbed wire. Highway 84 passed through a sprawling prison compound that seemed to stretched on forever.

The ironic part, out there above my head while sailing down the highway, were five hawks coasting along on windy currents. They were in perfect view of the prisons main building. The birds, an iconic symbol of freedom seemed to be taunting the prisoners. I wonder if the inmates noticed?

Hmmm.... perfect idea for a character.

So........ I arrived at my sisters apartment at about 7:15pm. My brother in law directed me where to park, helped me with my bags and then they fed me.

Thank the heavens, because I was starving!

After a very hospitable stay, I was off to bed by 11:00pm.

The alarm on my phone went off at 5:30am and I was up. I spent the next half hour going over some of the agent bios and rehearsing my pitch, which in hindsight didn't matter. I took a shower at 6:00, then sat down and drank some coffee. My sister joined me for a few minutes, then we left for the Big City at about 7:15.

We ran into some traffic. Oh my god....traffic in New York! After maneuvering through the congestion, we stumbled upon an inexpensive parking garage less than a block from the Javits Center. A three minute walk and we were there.

We walked in the front doors of the center and............well.....we couldn't find the writers conference. Now you have to understand, the Javits center is a massive glass structure four levels high, spanning four blocks, and sporting over 700,000 square feet of space.

So.... it's a little big.

After a few puzzled looks between my sister and I, we found two security guards eating breakfast (of all things). We asked them where the conference was and after a few puzzled looks themselves, they kindly pointed us in the direction they thought might be the right way.

So we headed down the steps to the Book Expo check in area. Now the book expo is the main event, the writers conference.....not so much.

They printed out a badge for my sister and I and then directed us where to go. Yeah.... we were officially part of the conference. It was now about 8:15am and the keynote address was going to start in fifteen minutes. Michelle (my sister) asked if we should get something to eat or scope out the seating. Of course, me being Mr. Prepared, I said let's scope out the seating.

So we found where we were supposed to go and ..........we were greeted by another line. Man I thought I was at the DMV or something. After taking a look at most of the other people in line, only a few people had the printed out name tags.

So, I took it upon myself to walk to the front of the line and ask. I was greeted by a very frazzled man, and after a few side glances, he finally settled his eyes on me and informed me that the line was only to get a program and a lick and stick name tag.

I walked back and informed all the people with the printed tags that they didn't need to wait in line. After some sighs of relief, we all walked into the main room. Michelle and I found a seat and realized it was only a few minutes till the speech.

So that meant no breakfast yet. Luckily, just outside the room was free coffee. I went out and got some. When I came back in, I nursed my coffee and watched the people around me. Much to my surprise, some of the people were going through the agent list in the program and circling possible targets. Wow, and I thought I wasn't prepared enough.

Karin Slaughter came out and gave a very humorous speech. It was direct, informative, and far from candy coated. She kindly explained that the writing business is tough, and despite the romanticized view of it, it was a business. Publishers publish books to make money. Plain and simple. She explained how an advance worked, which in my opinion if you didn't know that already you shouldn't have been there.

I was very satisfied with the speech and when it was over, NO BREAKFAST! It was 9:30 and we went right into the first breakout sessions.

I won't explain each session. I learned some things from each of them, which made it worth it. Even though they weren't classes at all like I had expected. They were more like marketing ploys to sell books.

I know, I have to remember that publishing is a business.

So by 11:30 I was starving and only running on residual caffeine. I found Michelle and we went into the lunch room. They had about fifty round tables set up, with about eight chairs circling them.

Then to our horror, all the tables in view were full.

My mind was kind of numb to it, but my stomach wasn't......it was ready for a full armored revolt.

So we.............

Sorry, I have to call it quits for the day. Those the Partial Thoughts of a George for today. Come back tomorrow, I'll finish........